Written by Jess Borys, Communications Manager
Shreeraj’s path to success may not have been a cookie-cutter journey, but it was the right journey for him. Growing up as a visible minority in this city, he found it difficult to really find his place.
“Winnipeg’s a tough city. Growing up here and being a visible minority, I had some really neat experiences, but also some challenging experiences,” said Patel, Vice President-Commercial Financial Services of RBC. “Who I am today is a product of how I can make this city better. I think Winnipeg has some amazing untapped potential and is one of Canada’s cities of the future.”
A lot of people would see Shreeraj’s title and would picture him as a successful guy in a suit, which he is, but he also prides himself on his love for hip hop music and a pair of fresh Jordans.
“I can be a boardroom person, but I’ll be honest, I’m a kid that grew up in very challenging financial backgrounds,” said Patel. “I think it is so important to be your true authentic self. A lot of people expect you to play a specific role, and that is fine, but that’s not for me.”
As incoming chair, Patel hopes to use his story to help give a sense of hope to some of the youth in our city who may be struggling.
“When kids meet me and they find out I’m a diehard hip hop guy, I collect Jordans or they see I have a bit of ink on my arms they want to hear my story,” smiled Shreeraj. “Sure, I tell them my resume, but when I get into my car and I’m bumping hip hop it allows me to connect with them on a different level. I like to show them that as privileged and lucky as I am to have this amazing title, you know I’m still just Raj, the south-end kid.”
With this new role on the horizon, Shreeraj looks to current chair Jessica Dumas and hopes to continue to build off of her successful season as chair.
“When I think of what Jessica represents as a leader, innovator and progressive thought leader I am inspired and motivated,” smiled Shreeraj. “There are some very big shoes to fill, but I’m up for the task and want to continue to champion Jessica’s initiatives.”
As Raj is sworn in as chair, it is hard not to see the difficult path ahead as COVID-19 continues to take over our normalcy. But, Shreeraj has faced many challenges in his life that he overcame and is looking to do just that with this new position. He finds his strength and passion to live a life of service from his wife.
“My wife is a nurse and she is constantly giving back to other people. There were times where I would come home think what am I doing versus what she’s doing? Constantly seeing what she’s doing and the positivity and equity that she puts into her community every day fuels me. It continues to prop me up,” smiled Patel.
“Seeing her resiliency through the pandemic continues to remind me to lead with empathy and gratitude as I come into this new role. As much as everything that’s going on is disruptive and it’s stressful, I look to fuel some good things out of it.”
Shreeraj has an extensive background and involvement in the financial industry both in commercial and corporate banking for the last 18 years. Raj joined RBC in 2014 and was appointed to the role of Vice President, Commercial Financial Services in 2017.
“A lot of who I am as a product of RBC. They continue to find ways to give back and focus on helping our communities prosper. RBC decided about two years ago they truly wanted to invest in the future of Canada’s youth.”
“I think about the anxiety that young people are feeling today with the backdrop of COVID. You do all the right things, you go to university and then boom, you can’t find a job. Graduating in the face of a pandemic isn’t easy. One of my goals as chair is to help ease a bit of that anxiety.”
Shreeraj was sworn in as Chair on Thursday, October 8, 2020 at our Annual General Meeting.
“As incoming chair, I really want to get even more involved in the business community than I am now,” said Patel. “My role at RBC is about helping our communities prosper and as chair I want to further magnify that life of service. I want to be there to help our youth, businesses and our community.”
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this opportunity to be able to grow in this position as chair, but also remembering I am still just a Peg-City kid.”
Miss our Annual General Meeting? You can watch it now live here!